This document sets out the information relevant to student appeals in the Faculty of Law. Students considering an appeal should review this information carefully before proceeding.
In the case of a request for relief relating to a specific course, a resolution of the problem should first be attempted through informal consultation with the instructor. Any resolution must be approved by the Dean in writing. If the student remains dissatisfied, or if the instructor cannot or will not be available within a reasonable time period, a written request for relief may then be submitted to the Dean.
The written request need not be lengthy, but should clearly indicate detailed reasons for the request and include all supporting documentation. The request must, at minimum, state (1) the precise ground of appeal; (2) the evidence that proves the claimed ground; and (3) the relief requested. The onus is on the student to prove the ground of appeal and the supporting evidence on the balance of probabilities.
Although it is the Dean's prerogative to seek advice from any source and in any fashion that he or she sees fit, it has been customary in the Faculty of Law to have a Student Appeals Committee to advise the Dean on appeals. Accordingly, the Dean may, from time to time, appoint a Student Appeals Committee composed of faculty and students. The Dean may decide an appeal on receipt or refer it for advice to the Student Appeals Committee. When an appeal is referred to the Committee, the Chair of the Committee may recommend to the Dean that the appeal be dismissed summarily because it does not raise a valid ground of appeal or does not provide evidence capable of proving the alleged ground. If the appeal raises a prima facie case, the Chair will designate a faculty member of the Committee to consider the matter and prepare a recommendation to the Dean. The Committee member considering the appeal may, in his or her discretion, invite further submissions from the appellant, investigate the matter, gather evidence, and/or hold an oral hearing.
The appellant may request in his or her initial submission to the Dean that a student member of the Committee also consider the matter and prepare a separate recommendation to the Dean.
In all cases, the Dean shall decide the appeal and communicate the decision to the student in writing.
The grounds for a request for relief may be one or more of: medical or compassionate circumstances, extenuating circumstances beyond the appellant's control, bias, inaccuracy or unfairness. All grounds advanced in a request for relief must be supported by a clear and detailed explanation of the reasons for the request together with all supporting documentation.
Although a re-evaluation is a possible remedy that the Dean may grant for a successful appeal, the appeal process itself is not designed to re-evaluate the student's work. In the absence of a clear error that renders the original mark unreasonable, an appeal that is essentially an invitation to "second guess" the original evaluation will be dismissed. Accordingly, a student's mere dissatisfaction with a mark does not constitute a ground of appeal. Similarly, a claim that the grade does not reflect the student's knowledge of the material or the effort expended on the assignment or course is not a valid appeal ground.
Deadlines for Requests for Relief
A student's ignorance of Senate regulations and policies and particular program requirements and policies as set out in the University Calendar does not constitute grounds for a request for relief.
(i) Final Grades: The informal consultation with the instructor (see "Procedure" above) should be initiated as soon as possible after a final grade is posted. The written request for relief must be submitted to the Dean by the following dates:
First Term Marks: March 1st
January Term Marks: April 1st
Spring Term Marks: June 30th
(ii) Program eligibility and progression: A request for relief against a decision concerning program eligibility must be made to the Dean in writing by June 30th.
(iii) Other requests for relief: Requests for relief regarding Scholastic Offences and other matters not related to the normal completion of a course during a regular academic session (including requests for relief against grades in a Special Examination, satisfaction of "Incomplete" requirements, etc.), must be made in writing within three weeks of a decision being issued.
In the case of requests for relief relating to: (a) the grade on a piece of work or final standing in a course or a regulation relating to a specific course, the relevant Dean will be the Dean of the Faculty offering that course; and (b) enrollment in a specific program, the relevant Dean will be the Dean of the Faculty offering that program. In the case of graduate students, the appropriate Dean in all cases is the Dean of Graduate Studies.
The Deans' rulings in academic matters are final unless overturned or modified on appeal to the Senate Review Board Academic (SRBA). SRBA is the final body to which students may appeal certain rulings of Deans in academic matters, and its decisions are final.
A student may appeal the decision of the Dean to the Senate Review Board Academic (SRBA) if the decision falls within the jurisdiction of SRBA. The deadline for an appeal to SRBA is six weeks after a decision has been issued by the Dean. A Dean's decision that is appealed to SRBA remains in full force and effect unless overturned or modified by SRBA.